Students are given realistic interpersonal and academic targets which are in line with placing authorities expectations & EHCP suggestions. Termly reviews for targets, attendance and behaviour are in place to allow for regular supervision, tracking of progress and intervention if required. Mentor chats allow for students to have private conversations with staff about any issues they may have as well as allowing staff to pull students to one side to re-enforce personal targets or expectations.
Tailored packages allow for placing authorities to agree on a bespoke experience for young people who attend the project. Staff are trained to meet the needs for those young people who have ASD, ADHD, SEMH, Learning Difficulties, Communication Difficulties, Sensory and Physical issues as well as a range of other overlapping traits.
Projects are delivered in a differentiated way, facilitating individualized progression within a social group setting; inclusive group work promotes tolerance of others, understanding, empathy and togetherness regardless of physical or cognitive ability.
– All staff and volunteers are DBS checked and the company is fully compliant with current safeguarding practices and procedures for KCSIE (Keeping Children Safe In Education).
– Safeguarding Training, First Aid Training and Continuous Professional Development is in place for all staff.
– High staff ratios allow for small groups (Level 2) and higher need learners (Level 1).
To supplement schooling efforts the provision also offers qualifications to help give young people the best possible chance of moving into further education or employment. Timetabled sessions facilitate accreditation in AimVoc Animal Care Industries (Entry 3, Level 1 & 2). This qualification can help young people progress into further education, such as Broomfield College, Derby doing an animal-related qualification.
Accreditation and success largely depend on student attendance, willingness to learn and engage. Tutors will monitor progression and provide additional support such as 1:1 or extra learning time to ensure young people manage to complete their qualifications while reporting to placing authorities with any concerns regarding achievement.
We appreciate that not all young people thrive in a mainstream schooling environment, and this may be intimidating for some. Some learners feel safe enough at the farm to strive towards GCSE accreditation; we can provide a safe and private place for tutors to work with students and achieve their potential.
The development of a young person’s understanding of the wider world, social norms, emotional well-being and respectful behaviour is the responsibility of teachers, parents and carers.
At The Island Project, we deliver a range of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) and PSHE sessions which are adapted to maximize learning for learners. SMSC is embedded into activities at the farm, teaching empathy, right from wrong and social appropriateness is a priority in all sessions. SMSC sessions cover a range of topics such as safer internet day, world environment day, LGBTQ+, black history month, animal-assisted therapy, global issues and emergency services to name just a few.
The provision has also implemented a specific day where pupils with more complex special education needs, who need 1:1 supervision, can attend and develop life skills and work skills in preparation for their future.
The curriculum on offer at The Island Project is diverse and supports pupils to gain lifelong independence skills. It is clear from the provision intent document that the provision teaches pupils about much more than animal care.
The mental, physical and emotional benefits of reconnecting with nature are profound. The 3-acre smallholding provides young people with the opportunity to express themselves and be celebrated in a relaxed and peaceful environment. Sessions for the most part are outdoors, interacting with peers and animals; providing learners with the opportunity to develop in a differentiated and, therefore, engaging environment. Site maintenance tasks alongside woodworking hand skills are areas that are utilized at the farm to supplement animal welfare efforts and help keep the farm maintained while providing hands-on work experience for young people to engage with.
Animal interaction is the heart of the project and makes up a large part of the sessions on offer. Animal accommodation is cleaned and maintained, animals are fed, trained and petted on a daily basis. More specialized sessions such as ‘vet club’ and ‘animal training’ facilitate in-depth and hands-on opportunities to work up close with animals and build strong relationships with them. ‘Animal TLC program’ sessions utilize techniques from animal-assisted therapy (AAT), that is utilizing animals as a tool for improved emotional and social wellbeing. AAT helps young people to develop interpersonal skills, motivation and confidence.
The Island Project can provide placements for young people aged 8-18. Differentiated sessions are adapted to each young person so that everyone can learn at a level that is appropriate for them. Learners can achieve qualifications in AimVoc and Functional Skills (Please see qualifications above) and can progress into a Post 16 placement where appropriate.
Groups sizes are usually 3 or 4 people and are mixed between all ages, with staff keeping a close eye on positive role modelling and appropriate group dynamics. Where possible appropriate groups are gently created to enhance learning opportunities and relationships among peers, such as Post 16 small groups or board games for younger learners; however most sessions are inclusive regardless of age or ability.
Because the service is a small farm, naturally woodworking, gardening and site maintenance are a huge part of what is on offer. Learners have the opportunity to regularly participant in constructing animal pens, fixing damaged gates or animal accommodation as well as making gardening planters.
Gardening provides young people with the opportunity to reconnect with nature and learn about where food comes from, how vegetables grow and how to care for them. Young people develop knowledge that encourages a healthier lifestyle. Student gardeners will learn about wildlife, environmental issues and how to be resourceful with the materials at hand.
The Island Project Farming & Education Centre
Land Opposite Park View
Monday – Friday
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Manager on Duty: 07495353937